Preview Thoughts on The Longevity Economy.

As a norm, I usually don’t recommend a new book until after I read it through, however I make an exception here as I do eagerly anticipate one that I’ve had on pre-order for the last month or so. Next week will see the release of The Longevity Economy by Dr. Joseph Coughlin of MIT’s Age Lab. Much has been made of this market for a number of years, and though largely seen as a made in America story, it is truly global in nature.

Longevity Economy BookSome have called it the Silver Economy, but I prefer Longevity Economy as it really reflects broader market segmentation opportunity for all ages, not just silver-headed Boomers. And therein lies the problem that Coughlin’s sub-title for the book suggests to help solve – Unlocking the World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market.

No doubt this is a book that businesses, as well as non-profits and other public services I might suggest, should benefit from as they try to right the ship in their marketing strategies. Yet I expect that this read may help consumers better understand how their lives are shaping in a longevity economy. There are many market disconnects, that as one of the promo lines for the book says, where Coughlin “pinpoints the gap between myth and reality”

Perhaps more timely now, this book will hopefully sit nicely as my companion piece to the wonderful book by Kim Walker and Dick StroudMarketing to the Ageing Consumer 2013.

In April 2012 I heard Dr. Coughlin speak at a Business of Aging Summit in Toronto at the MaRS Discovery District. He does engage an audience and his observations make you think. His open question in his MaRS talk, echoed the voice of Theodore Roszak in his book Longevity Revolution – “Now that we’re living much longer, what will we do with all our extra time?” As Roszak said – “it’s time we start finding a good social use for those extra years.”

With those questions in mind, and the fact that the demographic numbers of a current fifty-plus market have not yet really reached an “older age”; there is much to discover about how this not so homogeneous group of consumers/citizens will shape their promise of longevity. And therefore, plenty of reason why those who live, serve and sell in a longevity economy will need to grasp this most misunderstood market.

Aging & Longevity – Global Conferences 2017.

A new year brings as usual a fresh roster of international conferences in every professional field, and of course, this is no exception for the subject of aging and longevity. Here is a short list of interesting events for the first half of 2017 with my own summary introductions. What makes these events stand out is the higher-level conversations they stimulate on a wide-ranging scope of social issues.

What continued to strike me as I searched out a number of conference offerings this year, is how much more emphasis there is on drawing attention to business development opportunities in what is more often referred to as a Longevity Economy. At first glance, this may not immediately be reflected in the titles or content of conferences listed here, but if you look at the sponsorships such as in the case of the Aging in America Conference, you will see how this is presented.

Other conferences, profession based or academic in nature more frequently look to partnerships or sponsorships with businesses, which further indicates that there is opportunity across sectors to learn more about the process of aging and meet at the intersection where products and services address the social needs of a longevity society. Taking caution here though, in the preparation of this conference list, to avoid those that are overly commercial.

We will comment and report on any outcomes that stem from these events as they unfold.

American Society on Aging: Aging in America Conference

March 20-24, 2017 – Chicago, USA

Day One leads off with a National Forum on Family Caregiving. The full 48-page program is jam packed with an extensive range of subject matter for professionals working in the field of aging. March 23 presents a daylong “Boomer Business Summit” titled The New Economy: Seizing the Longevity Opportunity

Aging Graz 2017: 9th International Symposium on Cultural Gerontology

April 27-30, 2017 – Graz, Austria

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This is a joint conference of the European and North American Network in Aging Studies. Plenary speakers only so far announced but the broad sweep of the aging narrative looks to be engaging.

 

 

AAGE 2017 – Association for Anthropology, Gerontology & the Life Course

June 8-9, 2017 – Oxford England

10th Biennial Conference. What a surprise to see the call for abstracts under the theme “Culture, Commitment & Care across the Life Course”, with reference to Margaret Meade’s 1970 book Culture and Commitment. There is an inter-generational component to this event too.

Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology: A-Gen 2017

June 8-11, 2017 – Kobe Japan

Produced by the International Academic Forum (iafor) the theme is East Meets West: Innovation and Discovery. Read the covering introduction for a very thoughtful look at the focus on the changing cultural aspects of family and aging. Submissions still welcome.

 

 

Mark Venning